Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Raising Small Stock

         Having raised rabbits, chickens and goats several years ago I do have some suggestions.  Now, we haven't had anything but chickens for 8 years but we're looking at getting back into the game and adding some rabbits.  We're going to expand our chicken run so it'll be more like a chicken field and our rabbit hutches will back up to the chicken house so everything is convenient to feed and water.  I find that is the key, making it easy.  The kids can be involved, they need to know where their food comes from.  We let the kids get attached to the breeding stock but let them know in advance the babies will grow up to be dinner!  We've never had any drama since they know what was going to happen.  We didn't let our little kids see us actually butcher the animals but now our youngest is 9 and I think they will all be able to handle the natural way of things; if not there is still a lot they can do to be involved.  A great reference is the book The Manual of Practical Homesteading, John Vivian gives step by step directions for butchering, curing and even tanning the hides to use in many creative ways.  We're going to use the rabbit hutch design in the Reader's Digest Back to Basics it is simple and most families will have most of the materials on hand. 
          What can you do to make yourself a little more self-sufficient this year? Start a garden and learn to can your own veggies?  Get some chickens for eggs and maybe even meat?  What about 3 rabbits as breeding stock and learn to butcher and process your own meat?  All of these are attainable goals even for people who live in town with a small yard!  Don't look for negatives, look at the ways you can overcome any obstacle. 
         Be the first one of your friends to take the first step... let me know what you're going to do.

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